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Marrying Victim Not Solution For Rape

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00


Marrying ,Victim

The outrageous Kottiyoor Rape case once again had people infuriated and confused as the rape survivor approached the Supreme Court with a plea to marry her rapist and former catholic priest, Robin Vadakkumcherry. The Supreme Court rejected the plea, which required the granting of interim bail to the rapist for the purpose of marriage.
The priest and his atrocious acts were first brought into light when he was arrested days after the survivor had given birth to a child. From the commencement of the case, the concerned Court was aware of foul play as there was an appalling attempt to shift the blame of rape and impregnation onto the survivor’s biological father. Furthermore, the survivor also made strange and false testimonies that she had consensual sex with the priest after attaining the age of majority. 
However, owing to initial investigations, witnesses turning hostile and a paternity test, it was indisputable that the priest committed rape on the minor. The rapist’s desperate yet futile attempts to deny the rape claims and his obvious endeavour to silence the family were in vain, as he was convicted and sentenced to prison in February 2017. This punishment is on account of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act that resulted in him being awarded 20 years of rigorous imprisonment as well as an Rs. 3 lakh fine. Regardless of the survivor’s false testimony that she was of age when she had consensual sex with the priest, the initial investigation shows conclusive evidence that she was barely 16 years of age.

Subsequent to the conviction, the case took a disturbing turn when that rapist requested bail, in order to marry the survivor. After being defrocked, condemned and expelled from his priesthood from the Vatican, he claimed that he was now eligible for marriage and could gain custody of his child if granted bail and temporary suspension of his sentence. The High Court dismissed the plea on the grounds that judicial approval for marriage could not be granted in a case where a minor was raped.
An application by the survivor was then moved to the Supreme Court based on her ‘willingness to marry her rapist. According to the survivor’s claims, she wanted to ‘“give legitimacy to her child” who was now of age to be enrolled in school. The claim put forth by the survivor states that her child will have a father and she can avoid any further social stigma. The Supreme Court consisting of a Bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari upheld the High Court’s decision and rejected the application on the very grounds that there was perfectly no reason to approve the request of marriage between the rapist and the survivor, thereby rejecting the claim of interim bail to be granted to the rapist.